Thursday 12 December 2019

Children play on historic seafront - just yards from bloody syringes

Jim Cusack

Heroin addicts have turned one of Dun Laoghaire's historic seafront buildings into a filthy drugs den. Needles and drugs paraphernalia are strewn around the old Sea Baths only yards from where families were walking and children playing yesterday.

The disgusting drugs warren is only a couple of hundred yards from the town's massive new DLR Lexicon library building, on which €37m of public money has been spent.

After years of controversy and the biggest public protest the town has seen over plans to develop high-rise apartments on the seafront site, the Baths have fallen into squalor.

Local people said the Baths have become a squat for 'junkies' who have broken into boarded-up buildings and filled them with used needles, empty drink cans and other rubbish.

In an area open to the public and just yards from where children were playing last week, there are used needles and dozens of the empty plastic bottles dispensed by the local HSE methadone clinic.

Local businessman Peter Kerrigan of the Dun Laoghaire Ratepayers' Association told the Sunday Independent: "The council chambers are only a few hundred yards away from the Baths and they've let it fall into this state.

Drugs paraphernalia scattered near Dun Laoghaire baths
Drugs paraphernalia scattered near Dun Laoghaire baths

"They will inevitably say their only option is to sell the Baths off to property developers who will build high-rise blocks of apartments for millionaires and take the seafront away from the people.

"It is our belief that the council has already gone down this road by building an eight-storey library. I know it is the view of an awful lot of people that this will inevitably facilitate other high-rise development on the seafront."

Old Sea Baths, Dun Laoghaire
Old Sea Baths, Dun Laoghaire

The Ratepayers' Association was denounced by the Council recently for issuing postcards of a zombie with the words: "The Walking Dead, courtesy of the HSE", in protest at the numbers of addicts attending the local methadone clinic and hanging around the town centre.

In 2005 Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail councillors supported a proposal by Council officials to sell the Baths and allow a five-acre infill of Scotsmans Bay for the development of a massive 330-apartment building the size of an Ikea store.

However, they were forced to back down in the face of one of the biggest protests in the town's history. Some 16,000 people also signed a petition against the demolition of the Victorian Baths building and the development of the complex.

Two years ago the Council made new proposals for a rejuvenation of the old Baths complex, but these appear to have been shelved to allow for the new 125-foot high library.

Sunday Independent

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